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Putin the boot in

It doesnt come as a huge surprise to hear that the OSCE has reportedly declared Russias parliamentary elections unfair, following a win by bookies favourite the United Russia Party (of Vladimir Putin fame).

In the run-up to the election weve expressed concern about protesters being beaten up, free speech being restricted and the arrest of opposition leaders, including former chess champion Gary Kasparov.

There have been deaths. Farid Babaev, a prominent political activist involved in human rights work and the first candidate on Yabloko's party list for the Duma elections in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, was shot and fatally wounded outside his flat on the evening of 22 November.

Despite (or some would say because of) his authoritarian hard man style, Putin is reportedly a popular ruler for many Russians. Sad then, that Russian people are stopped from hearing dissenting voices offering an alternative view and highlighting some of the many human rights abuses that take place in Putins Russia. The New Statesman also featured an excellent Russia Special this week.

The news isnt exactly great from the other side of the globe, either. According to the Sunday Times, US lawmakers have asserted that their laws permit the kidnapping of other countries citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the US. This has put the wind up the business community, following the conviction of the Natwest Three last week. Its a story that some US bloggers have picked up on and which generated a fair bit of comment on the Times site.

It comes as less of a surprise to us at Amnesty, as weve been documenting US kidnaps for some time in fact, CIA agents are currently facing prosecution in Italy for the kidnapping (or rendition) of Abu Omar, a Muslim cleric snatched from the streets of Milan in 2003.

Meanwhile our Unsubscribe campaign, mobilising people against terrorism and human rights abuses in the war on terror like rendition, continues to go from strength to strength.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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